MATCH REPORT Atherton Laburnum Rovers 2-3 Chadderton
Monday 18th September 2017 10:46 Football Sports Posted by Mark Phillip

We all know those defining moments of seasons ; Mark Robins’ header at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup in 1990, Paul Dickov scoring against Gillingham at Wembley in 1999, and many others. It could just be that Luke Heron’s 90th minute winner at Crilly Park could be Chadderton’s defining moment this season, the moment things began to turn in their favour.

It’s been a difficult and unusual season so far with every game away from home, injuries and absences of key players at various times, but the attitude of the players has been amazing, with 100% being given by every player selected, and Tank, Hulmey and Robbo working their socks off on the training pitch and behind the scenes for the club.

Chadderton arrived at Atherton LR with a record so far of W1 D2 L3 all from away or neutral games, which doesn’t reflect at all, the quality of our play at times from this very young side that Mark has put together. Last season Tim Astley was sent off in an end of season game at Crilly Park which they went on to lose 6-1, and make no mistake about it, this was a game Atherton LR wanted desperately to win again, maybe they perceived Chadderton as there for the taking with the constant travelling perhaps taking its toll ?

Chaddy kicked off the game downhill, and started brightly, the game was barely 4 minutes old when Luke Heron raced away on goal and was brought down from behind by the Atherton LR No.6. A clear red card which at first the referee didn’t appear to give, but after consulting with his linesman, the Atherton stopper was directed to an early shower and Chaddy received a free-kick just on the edge of the 18 yard box. The kick from Dale Minor was cleared out, lobbed back in but the Atherton keeper gathered it.

Leon Iluobe then had a fine backwards header that looped just wide of the goal. The break through finally came a minute later on 10 minutes,  as good work from Mike Moss on the right hand side saw Leon Iluobe poke home the cross: 0-1.

Chatty were given another chance on 14 minutes when after a pass from Dale Minor, Mike Moss curled a lovely right foot shot just past the left-hand post. Vinny Howell had a great game, constantly moving, some lovely touches which even if they didn’t come off, didn’t affect his confidence to try again and on 18 mins Vinny had a neat volley which hit the side netting.

It was constant attacking now by Mark Howard’s men and on 20 minutes Leon wove in from the left and crossed only for Mikey Moss to just fail to connect. There followed a short period of pressure for the home side who won a couple of corners which came to nothing and on 36 minutes  Moss doubled the lead when he charged down a kick from the Atherton keeper and scored.

Tank had underlined to the team at the break the importance of not switching off in the first 15 minutes of the second half when they knew Atherton would come at them, with nothing to lose. And come at Chadderton they did, charging down the hill, playing some very direct football and on 46 minutes they forced a corner after a good save from Mike Smith, shooting just wide when the corner came across.

This was now a good period of pressure for Atherton LR who were coping with the deficit in numbers as if it didn’t matter. On 50 mins Gaz Hill was booked for a foul on the right as Atherton attacked. The inevitable happened on 55 minutes when Theo Kidd struck one past Smithy’s right. 1-2. Atherton now sensed they could get something from Chaddy’s young team, with the centre backs of Tim Astley and Jimmy Dwyer being pressurised.

Chadderton managed to break out and attacked up the hill, and on 61 minutes produced a great run from Leon, whose cross was cleared, pinged in again by Dale Minor and Vinny Howell went very close with a neat header.

A minute later however and the teams were level at 2-2, some slack marking in the Chaddy 18 yard box left left Alex Guest free to fire the ball home.

Atherton really worked hard, using the advantage of the slope, playing very direct football that was causing Chadderton’s defence no end of problems. Luke Heron was booked by the ref and then Tank made a change bringing Jordan Anderson on for Gareth Hill on 75 mins. Jordan’s cameo appearance lasted less than 10 mins as a re-occurrence of his hamstring injury meant he had to come off, being replaced by Nathan Chorlton on 84 minutes.

Chadderton started to get back into the game, and it has to be said that the lads kept trying to play their football and never gave up and on the 85th minute Mikey Moss had a shot which was well saved by the Atherton keeper. On the 90th minute Chaddy were still pressing but Vinny Howell’s cross was collected by the keeper. Time was running out now, and it seemed this was going to be another case of a game Chadderton had had in their control slipping away, but it wasn’t to be this time when on 92 minutes Dale Minor crossed, Vinny Howell squared the ball and Heron crashed the winner in.

The result leaves Heron with five goals in just six games, making him joint-top scorer with Mike Moss who has five from seven.

Chadderton are competing in the FA Vase at Litherland REMYCA on Saturday.

MOTM : Vinny Howell

By Mark Hutton

Picture: Chaddertonfc.com